Description: Having left SLAMFEST 2020, Kasumi finds herself challenged by a new face in the professional fighting world: The self-proclaimed 'Demon Queen,' an actress portraying herself as a truly inhuman monster. While the celebrity certainly has a flourish to her style, the Azure Ninja finds herself facing a blurring line between the real and phantasmal in a heated belt match upon the cruise back home.
Fresh out of a series of intense bouts at SLAMFEST 2020, the thrilling world of global fighting competition lures the Mugen Tenshin exile back into the open with the promise of another challenging match. This time, the title belt she had held since her defeat of the legendary Armor King was on the line. Though she couldn't deny a bit of pride at having secured it from the powerful wrestler, it wasn't the real reason she left her secret hiding places to participate in public spectacle.
The world was a dangerous place and while she was confident in her skills honed by a lifetime of training since she was just barely able to walk, Kasumi knew full well there were those out there stronger, more dangerous than she was, She also knew there was no education as effective or lasting as that of facing off against capable opponents.
Her reputation among the fight fan community was something of an enigma. Even after her narrow victory at the King of Fighters tournament some time ago, she had never given an interview, never appeared on any trophy platform, never been contacted by sponsors eager to use her name or image in promotion of their brands. Wherever the elusive Shinobi in Blue left when it came time for her matches, she showed no inclination of letting others find her between bouts. But dangle the promise of an interesting match in front of her, and the recluse would make her appearance once again.
The reach of the SNF organization was extensive, the production company skilled at finding new and interesting venues around the world. And this massive ocean liner is no disappointment. The pool deck has been closed off to the sea-faring tourists for this afternoon. The sky overhead a rich blue mottled only by a few puffy, white clouds. The wind blowing over the ocean is brisk, easily whipping flags, hair, and loose cloth, and the temperature cool without being chilly.
Between two large pools, a wide strip of pristine, white deck serves as the intended staging of the match. While voyagers are prohibited from the deck itself, the walkways and balconies overlooking it remain open and are currently packed elbow to elbow by passengers eager to see what combative entertainment has been scheduled for them today.
Kasumi stands at one end of the deck in an outfit even more richly blue than the unpolluted sky overhead. A revealing royal blue dress with white trim, the upper coat possessing short, relaxed sleeves. The wrap-like front is tucked into a wide, white band around the young woman's slender waist and the dress ends with a front and rear strip of skirt that falls to just above her knees. White, thigh-high stockings cover athletic legs while her forearms and lower legs are protected by what appear to be blue armor pieces decorated with white floral imprints.
The flowing wind of the swiftly moving cruise ship whips at the kunoichi's copper hued pony tail, a long, thin blue ribbon keeping her simple hairstyle in place. As she glances down, she taps her sandal-clad foot to test its friction against the artificial deck. A ship this size is barely subject to the whims of the sea, largely shouldering its way through the waves rather than being buffeted by them, but that doesn't prevent the continuous, subtle sway beneath its passenger's feet all the same.
Looking up, Kasumi closes her right hand into a relaxed fist, resting it near the base of her exposed throat. For now, she is the picture perfect image of calmness. But everyone who has seen her prior matches will know any semblance of tranquility will vanish when she heeds the call of the fight and applies her incredible speed toward victory.
Rumours and conjecture have abounded regarding the debut of Kasumi's opponent-to-be. Best known as a streamer, the audaciously self-proclaimed 'Demon Queen' Lyraelle has had yet to make her debut on the world fighting stage. Many speculate that the demon-cosplaying cam girl has no right to be put into a professional title match.
In short, they claim that she's a pretender, in every sense of the word.
Presently, a trio of short men in what appears to be full prop makeup and costume scramble past the barricades onto the pool deck. The first, dressed up to look like a squat pinkish-red demon, is carrying a pair of neon green air traffic control wands and wearing a life jacket. The second is a sturdy yellow thing with ram's horns, a goatee, and a cooler under one arm. The third is a taller and green imp with long, pointed ears, carries a megaphone, which he raises to his thin lips to bark a tinny, nasal greeting to the gathered fighting fans.
"May I present, arriving presently, from Parts Unknown..."
The green demonoid seems to be deliberately taking his time, giving the yellow demon time to set his ice box toward the fore of the deck and open it.
"...Her Infernal Majesty..."
A murmur seems to arise amongst the security surrounding the cordoned-off fighting area as to whether the ostentatious display was cleared with the production team ahead of time. The yellow demon opens the box, then edges away slowly before slipping through a side door. What appears to be dry ice smoke billows out of the cooler. The red imp starts to wave the wands frantically, hopping up and down as he faces toward the smoke like some sort of shaman attempting to conjure a spirit from the ice chest.
"Sovereign of the House of Darkheart..."
By now, the smoke is a wall against the back of the ship, and some surly-looking members of the security team have begun to approach the two demons still on the stage. The red demon closes his eyes, seemingly in some silent prayer as he brandishes his green batons. One of the security team picks the green one up over his head in a full body press and starts to carry him off as the imp doggedly clings to his megaphone, desperate to finish his introduction:
There's a faint, growing sound of rushing wind. Then, bursting through the cloud of steam comes the Demon Queen, purple wings flared out to steady her descent, one leg hooked and the other extended purple thigh high heel-first in a classic dive kick pose.
Unfortunately for the demonic red air marshal, he happens to be in the way of said heel, and is sent tumbling unceremoniously into one of the pools as the leathery boot continues on to come skidding and squeaking to a standing stop on the deck. (Fortunately, he was wearing a life jacket.)
The pink-ponytailed demoness holds her extended stance for a moment, a fierce determination in her eyes as she stares Kasumi down long enough for the cameras to get a few good promotional shots in.
Then, mercurially, the green-eyed demon gal's expression brightens to a toothy smile with a warmth to match the beating sun overhead, and she relaxes one clenched hand to rest against the side of her purple leotard while lifting the other for a royal wave to the fans on the deck above.
"Hello, my loyal subjects!"
The slightly chilly response she gets doesn't seem to faze the demoness by any considerable margin. She speaks again:
"My apologies. You all must have questions regarding the legitimacy of my rule. Well, every Queen needs a crown. So, consider this a kind of coronation ceremony."
As she says those words, Lyraelle turns her envy-green eyes back toward Kasumi, and her posture shifts again, gloved hands flexing as her animatronic (?) purple tail flicks behind her.
"Except, you know, with a belt. Instead of a crown."
In the background, one of the security team can be seen supervising as a poolside custodial engineer fishes the pink imp out pf the water with a large pool net.
Having just participated in a three round tribute to wrestling at SLAMFEST 2020, the Mugen Tenshin ninja princess is no stranger to the idea of spectacle. Yet even the most outlandish displays of over the top showmanship at the island-locked Capcom Wrestling Association Main Stadium would pale in comparison to whatever pageantry seems to be playing out before her here and now.
For her, the identity of her opponent was something of a mystery. Raised in a mountain village of reclusive monster hunting ninjas, her childhood had not exactly been robust with exposures to the wonders of technology. Still, she had trained herself up on it quickly, particularly after going into exile and having to figure out a lot more about how the world /really/ worked. But as comfortable as she was with the use of computers and technology, she didn't really /know/ it like those who grew up in an era of online presence, social capital, and whatever 'streaming' was all about.
Even still, she certainly didn't mistake any of the three stooges that come out as being her opponent. None of them exactly scream 'Lady Lyraelle Darkheart' at a glance, anyway. The sapphire-clad shinobi observes the display of theatrics with a calm, bemused expression, corners of her mouth tugged up in a faint smile. Her hand drops from near her neck to resting against her hip, her posture relaxed. Being out here, in the middle of the ocean, participating in a sporting match gives her a certain sense of carefree security, as if it's okay to let down her guard a little and enjoy herself.
When the heralded queen finally makes her entrance, dropping down with an attention grabbing winged glide, caramel-brown eyes flick to follow her movements. The large splash from the adjacent pool scatters a few droplets of water near her feet but her focus is on the outlandishly costumed young woman. Wings. Tail. Minions (one being fished out of the pool). And demeanor. All combined, the entrance of royalty... if royalty had anything to do with the degree of pomp and circumstance one manages to make one's entrance, anyway.
Kasumi meets Queen Lyraelle's stare, breathing in then releasing a slow exhale. Ultimately, she isn't here for the melodrama some fighters bring to their matches, but it doesn't mean she's a complete stick in the mud either.
"Forgive me, highness," Kasumi replies, sliding one foot forward, shifting her stance, "But you haven't earned your crown yet." Raised as ninja royality herself, the thought of calling any other person highness pricks at her pride a little. But it's all in good fun, right?
She brings her hands up, leaning to move her balance along with her shift in footing. Wind whips her ponytail around her neck to rest against her shoulder and for now she simply lets it be while her bangs continue to sway against her forehead. "Might I suggest you save the ceremony for after you have put any questions of legitimacy to rest."
She sways lightly on her feet, a balanced posture that affords her immediate access to defensive or offensive leaning techniques. There is still a glimmer of amusement to her eyes, but her smile is gone, replaced by an expression of concentrated resolve. She will test this opponent like any other she has faced. And in the process, test herself.
"How about you show me your proof."
She dips her head slightly, simultaneously indicating readiness and a willingness to see what Lyraelle is bringing to the pool-side battle.
COMBATSYS: Kasumi has started a fight here.
The last beleaguered minion is fished up and removed from the premises with minimal dignity, a last pleading look toward his mistress as he's taken away. To his apparent relief, he's rewarded for his faithfulness with a quick wink, a twitch of a smile, and a purple glove raised thumb and index fingers touching in a brief 'perfect' sign while eyes and cameras are on Kasumi.
Distractions dispensed with, Lyraelle slips her hand down so that it's resting opposite its partner just above her waist in a classic pose of confidence. Twin bat-like wings unfurl to their full span and lift slightly, an impressive testament to the engineering that went into them. Functional, yet lifelike! The Demon Queen's black horns tip backwards as she lifts her chin and smirks with supreme self-assurance.
"Fine! But know this - I am Lyraelle, heir to the Royal Line of House Darkheart!"
%With a flap of her leathery wings, the demoness ascends, hovering into the air.
"All I survey must submit... or face destruction!"
The only warning for what comes next is a sudden bright flare behind Lyraelle's green eyes. In a flash, they ignite with infernal green flame, sending twin streams of burning green hellfire raking across the deck toward Kasumi's feet and - if she's not quick enough to avoid them - up across the ninja's person.
"Oh, dude. How do you think she does the eye lasers?" a teenager in black asks from the seats above.
"Technically, they're not lasers. Lasers are concentrated beams of light. That's just fire." another teenager next to him replies, adjusting her glasses. "Fire that looks like lasers."
COMBATSYS: Lyraelle has joined the fight here.
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Kasumi 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Lyraelle
COMBATSYS: Kasumi instinctively blocks Lyraelle's Balefire Gaze.
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Kasumi 0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0 Lyraelle
The two young women face off, one in sapphire blue, the other in fetching royal purple. The audience certainly knows of Kasumi, her track record in fight appearances being formidable to say the least, and those who push their fandom beyond passive entertainment to more active speculation might already run the risk of picking her the favorite in this matchup against the comparatively unproven in the fighting circuits. But the Mugen Tenshin exile knows better than to be dismissive of another simply because they haven't made an appearance before - anyone who grew up in the shadow clans of Japan's mountains would be wary of such a poorly founded assumption.
Of particular interest to Kasumi, in fact, are the wings. Already Lyraelle demonstrated that they could be used for gliding, showing that they were not simply decorational but actually had a functional use as well. A bit showy for a glider, the copper-haired girl ponders, but they fit the theme the new entrant is clearly going for.
But then they demonstrate further capacity, the wings stretching out and, with leathery, strong flaps, take the self-proclaimed Demon Queen into the air.
For the first time since the entire spectacle began, Kasumi looks taken aback, her eyes widening slightly with open surprise. A fancy, functional glider on the horned girl's back is one thing. But the ability to generate enough lift to pull herself into the air? Now that's an engineering marvel indeed. For a moment, she wonders if it's a combination of technology and subtle chi manipulation that affords Lyraelle such flexibility. But she's given precious little time to think it through much beyond that before a flaming blast of concentrated energy rakes across the ground toward her, leaving twin trails of viridian melting the rough plastic surface.
"The ship crew isn't going to like that," Kasumi ponders out loud softly, leaning back and deciding to test her own chi defenses against the attack in order to get a better gauge of what she's dealing with. Pulling up her arms into a traditional, full committal block, she leans on her rear leg, focusing inward, projecting her own aura outward into the raking blast.
That unseen, trained defense against energy attacks is not enough to stop the incoming scorching attack all on its own, but it does diminish it slightly, the flames that trace up the front of her far less potent as a result. A gasp escapes her lips, her forearm guards absorbing the worst of the damage, their azure fabric covering scorched black in the process. Even guarded by her trained aura, that stung. She shakes her arms, putting out the last of the green hellfire flames.
Well. That's going to be interesting to deal with, assuming Lyraelle has more where that came from.
She surges forward then, slipping to the right of the lingering green flames on the deck, the unpleasant smell of burning plastic only slightly distracting. She leaps then, flipping forward into a high arc, attempting to meet Lyraelle in the air. If she times it right, she'll come out of her flip with an overhead, dropping splits kick, attempting to catch the young woman with her heel-
Hit or miss, she'll vanish before landing on the ground again, a swirling helix o of cherry blossom petals in her wake. A rush of wind, the sound of air being violently displaced, and the ninja will appear to her opponent's left, right adjacent to one of the pool edges. The same time she appears, she's already rushing back in, a blur of blue, white, and flesh, slamming out her right hand into an open handed palm strike toward Lyraelle, attempting to slam into her with all of her intense momentum!
There is risk, of course, as failure to connect with her dashing palm strike might bring her perilously close to the other pool's edge. There's only so much room to work with when it comes to high speed manuevers...
COMBATSYS: Kasumi successfully hits Lyraelle with Tenrai Kyaku Chifu.
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Kasumi 0/-------/-----==|===----\-------\0 Lyraelle
The fire burning in Lyraelle's eyes is snuffed out in a fluttering of lashes. They blink open again just in time to catch Kasumi's approaching flip-kick. In a split second, she's on the defensive. The ninja is fast, but the demoness is -
- not quite as fast, as it turns out, in this particular instance. The heel catches her between the horns and sends her sailing down to the deck. She lands in a crouch, sliding back with the momentum of the impact, gloved fingertips dragging across the surface to help arrest her movement. She straightens herself up to her feet quickly, one hand reaching up to her head.
"I gotta -" She's mid-thought when Kasumi's open palm comes blurring toward her, and she leans her upper body back to avoid it, causing the kunoichi's hand to clip across the demoness' chest. Lyraelle winces one eye shut. "- learn to kick like that," she finishes, already making a snatch for Kasumi's arm with both hands. If she can manage to grab hold, she'll use a perhaps-surprising amount of strength to unbalance the ninja and direct her toward the pool's edge before slamming her hip sideways at Kasumi, in an attempt to knock her into the water.
COMBATSYS: Kasumi counters Combo Grapple from Lyraelle with Inaho Gari EX.
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Kasumi 0/-------/----===|=======\-------\1 Lyraelle
One thing is already abundantly clear to the Mugen Tenshin-trained shinobi - her opponent's casual use of flaming chi with no more effort than a bat of lovely eyelashes places her opponent clearly far beyond the status of someone newly training in the arts of projecting energy through their body.
And then there's her reaction speed. If Lyraelle were a fresh-eyed amateur to fighting, there was almost no chance she could have coped with the speed of Kasumi's opening assault. The ninja moves like the wind, combining innate physical speed with potentially confusing teleportation techniques make the ninja's attacks phenomenally difficult for an average fighter to deal with. Even though her heel struck home, Lady Darkheart manages to avoid the blisteringly fast palm strike, leaving Kasumi sliding past her, right arm extended, all of her balance committed to the attack.
Lyraelle gets her grip on Kasumi's extended arm, but what seems as an advantage seems to turn against her too fast for the audience to follow. Right arm caught, Kasumi uses the hold on her limb as a means of stopping her own perilously fast forward momentum, twisting her body to the right with her next step, left hand snapping out to close over Lyraelle's grip on her forearm. The sound of sandals scraping against plastic echo out just as loud as the smack of skin against skin as the kunoichi transfers her own momentum into Lyraelle, whipping the other young woman forward, right along the path Kasumi had been following.
Slipping behind the surprisingly functional wings of her opponent, Kasumi's left palm presses against Lyraelle's upper back at the same time she finally wrests her own right arm free. The final strike comes in the form of light but firm snapping kick right between the wings from Kasumi's right leg, threatening to deliver the demon-themed fighter the pool plunge she had meant for the ninja!
The entire exchange was a 'blink and you miss it' moment, leaving the local audiences reeling as they try to catch up on the high speed fight while remove viewers are already eagerly looking for the slow-motion replay.
For her own part, Kasumi affords herself a soft exhale of relief. She's still getting a read on the capabilities of her opponent. Even in that swift exchange she felt real strength behind the pink-haired fighter's grip. The corner of her mouth curls up just slightly as the thrill of the challenge races through her blood as she glances at the now smoldering trails left in the deck by Lyraelle's hellfire blast.
"Well, she did say submit or face destruction," she muses out loud, backing up with a light step. "I hope this ship is insured against destruction."
The pink-haired hellion's eyes widen theatrically as she finds herself outmaneuvered by the ninja maiden, her expression so perfectly hyperbolic that one might question whether it's sincere or put on for the cameras. In any case, there's nothing regal about the cry of "AAAHHH!" from the winged warrior that's abruptly cut off as she plunges headfirst through the pool's crystal surface, a column of water flying up with a loud sploosh.
And yet, for all the lack of grace with which Lyraelle is delivered to the depths, her re-emergence is nothing shy of majestic. Rising up from the water like a phoenix, the woman spirals into the air, sending a spray of droplets in every direction as her tail whips round. At the apex of her upward leap, her wings snap open, and she hangs suspended for a moment before they begin to beat, arresting her return to the ship's deck and allowing her to hover. Such was the force of her spinning ascent that only a faint glistening sheen and dampness to her skin and hair remain to indicate that she was, only moments before, thoroughly drenched. Green eyes narrow vindictively at the ninja as the demoness twists her body into an aggressive posture.
"Now, that was uncalled for."
And then she's suddenly throwing herself down toward Kasumi, wings folding for velocity as she makes a headlong dive toward the ninja - or slightly to one side of the ninja. At the last moment of a dangerously deep swoop, a gloved hand will reach out to make a grab for Kasumi's leg just near the knee, and if successful, she'll carry Kasumi up into the air, wings opening again for lift, using the momentum to swing her up and release her skyward.
"Show some deference!"
If all goes according to the demoness' plan, she'll then tuck her wings and spin in the air, the sole of her right boot igniting with green flame as she aims to catch Kasumi on the descent with a spinning axe kick.
COMBATSYS: Lyraelle successfully hits Kasumi with Fell Swoop.
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Kasumi 1/-------/=======|=======\===----\1 Lyraelle
The initial splash of the twin-horned Queen of Darkness doesn't quite manage to do more than land a few droplets on the azure shinguard Kasumi wears on her lower legs and over her feet. The Shinobi in Blue affords herself the faintest of smiles. She isn't taking pleasure at the other fighter's soaking misfortune, exactly - such pettiness had no place in a match against someone delivering their best to the battle. But rather, she couldn't help but find a glimmer of joy in the tone of the bout, the theatrics, the themed minion stooges, the grand entrance and haughty tone... she would take this kind of fight any day over the harrowing experience she had against an animated flesh bag full of vipers she faced at SLAMFEST.
While the first splash left hardly a drop on her, the winged young woman's surge back into the view of audience and cameras alike, on the other hand, sends a shower of sparkling crystalline in every direction. Kasumi lifts her right arm out in front of and above her face on reflex as the spray lightly coats her from above.
Lowering her arm, she glances at her dampened shoulder with a faint frown. The back of her right hand's fingers bush idly across the exposed skin above the folds of her outfit, flicking away some drops of water to the side but making very little difference overall. She's hardly drenched, her white stockings only having become a degree more translucent in a few places, but Kasumi does seem a touch annoyed about getting rained on.
The copper-haired girl recovers her composure quickly, however, lifting her hands in something that falls between a shrug and a placating display of open palms. "I wasn't the one that brought the fire." Green fire, at that... a curious trait. While flame wielders might not be entirely uncommon, fire exhibiting an unnatural hue was something else entirely...
But then Lyraelle is on the offense, using the advantages her surprisingly functional wings convey to dive back at Kasumi. Perhaps expecting to be bowled into, she braces, lifting her arms, prepared to weather the blow against a readied guard. That the demon-themed new-comer would instead fly so low as to hook her by the leg she hadn't anticipated at all. She would certainly have time later to marvel at the precision with which she could fly with those wings of hers, but in the immediate moment she finds herself hauled up by her leg.
Hair, ribbons, and cloth dangling upside down, the kunoichi is briefly in no position to defend herself or counter attack. The ease and strength with which she was hauled up was a sure sign that perhaps she had erred in her calibration of her opponent's capabilities. Even still, caught in such an unprecedented predicament, she recovers her senses in a flash and begins to twist with her body and kick out with her free leg, clearly intending to either wrest herself loose or strike her opponent to escape.
None of that ends up helping as she's treated to a free flying flaming kick to her stomach that sends the fighter hurtling through the air like a green flaming comet. The plunge into the opposite pool than the one Lyraelle landed in is probably a happy accident, the hellfire smothered amid a cloud of steam. But that does nothing to sooth the crushing ache in her abdomen from the powerful blow.
The steam doesn't last long on the swift breeze blowing over the deck, but right before it is fully scattered, Kasumi flies out from the water. Unlike Lyarelle's eye-fetching elegant rise from the pool moments prior, the ninja rocks up, surging straight for Lyraelle, water falling from her form toward the deck as she attempts to slam directly into the Demon Royality with a swift elbow strike.
"You haven't earned your crown yet!"
Of course, the cloth scorched black across her stomach and waist is evidence that perhaps Lyralle is much closer to that goal than she was a moment ago!
COMBATSYS: Lyraelle blocks Kasumi's Aggressive Strike.
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Kasumi 1/-------/=======|=======\====---\1 Lyraelle
With her kick delivered, the Demon Queen rights herself and drops down to hover nearer the deck of the ship, her left hand slipping down to rest on her hip while she raises her right to mime buffing her nails through her glove, eyeing them with a carefully casual smirk. It's a fairly transparent play for the love of the cameras, but what would a fight on a luxury liner be without a little showboating?
The demoness seems distracted momentarily in her nonchalant narcissism, but a close observer could easily note the sidelong flick of her eyes toward Kasumi the moment that the kunoichi breaks free from the water. The tension in preparing physically for the incoming blow is subtle, but noticeable to the trained eye; what looks like a spontaneous last-moment defense is actually a calculated one. Her right hand opens and swings 'round, joined by the left to catch the kunoichi's elbow in her gloved palms and spread the impact, allowing it to push her further into the air. With the damage diverted, the Demon Queen flaps backward and upward. In a tone that could be considered equal parts arrogant and petulant, she taunts:
"If that's what you think, then allow me to show you just how beneath me you are!"
With that, the demoness turns in the air, showing her back to the kunoichi and giving an over-the-shoulder wink to opponent and audience alike. Then, leaning her torso forward and swinging her legs up and together, she gives a single violent buffet of her wings, driving herself with surprising speed on a collision course toward Kasumi, the scant seat of her leotard serving as the warhead of her humanoid (or demonoid?) missile.
Should the ninja fail to fend the maneuver, she'll likely find herself pinned beneath the Demon Queen's posterior as Lyraelle's serpentine tail seeks to coil around the nearest part of the ninja that it can get around - and should that succeed, she'd find herself squeezed and subjected to a more insidious power...
COMBATSYS: Lyraelle issues a challenge!!
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Kasumi 1/-------/=======|=======\====---\1 Lyraelle
COMBATSYS: Lyraelle successfully hits Kasumi with Royal Requisition - Dark Queen's Throne.
~~ Alluring Hit! ~~
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Kasumi 2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|===----\-------\0 Lyraelle
The precision force of her lunging elbow strike dampened by her target's defense, Kasumi falls back to the deck rather than demonstrating any gravity-defying ninja tricks. She lands lightly with a wet splash, water still dropping off of her, her previously breezily swaying ponytail flopping against the back of her neck limply.
From fall to landing, her eyes never leave Lyraelle. After that last combination, it's safe to say she has the shinobi's full attention and isn't out of awe for her extremely convincing demonic prosthetics or bemusing theatrics. Standing up warily out of her landing crouch, the Mugen Tenshin forces herself to ignore the ache in her stomach, to resist the urge to fold her arms over her abdomen and take a breather. Her opponent's striking potential is far more real a threat than she had realized up until now. There was no time for indulging the pain.
"We'll see about that," she replies, finding her voice after a second, watching the nimble flight of the winged young woman as she spins around in the air. What could possibly be coming next? Another flying grapple? A projected energy attack from the relative safety of the air? Drops of water splash against the scorched deck around her as she tries to anticipate what would be coming next.
Failing to account for every possible way Lyraelle could use her airborne talents to attack, the exile is caught off guard by the high speed, backward tackle, eyes widening with alarm as realization hits a moment too late. Not wanting to weather the entire force behind Lyraelle's reverse dive, Kasumi pushes off with her feet, twisting, attempting to tear herself out of harm's way.
With Lyraelle slamming into her back, it's clear that the reaction wasn't in time, Kasumi driven to the deck with another splash of scattered pool water, air forced from her lungs in an audible cry. With the Demon Queen seated on her back, Kasumi struggles, hands pressing against the surface, legs shifting as she tries to get her knees beneath her as the first steps to trying to break free. The urgency of escape is born less from the embarrassing situation and more from the innate risk of being pinned by someone landing on one's back... but that doesn't mean the former reason isn't particularly motivating as well.
Her efforts are cut short as the tail that shouldn't be anywhere near so nimble as it proves to be wraps around the pinned ninja's defenseless neck, cutting off her gasp of pain abruptly. Her now silenced struggle becomes more frantic, Kasumi moving her hands to grasp desperately at the tail, face becoming flush from the combination of pain and need for oxygen. Adding to her list of mounting problems, she can feel the energy at work behind the hold as well, leeching hungrily, assaulting her aura more directly and ripping strength and endurance from the fighter on a level entirely invisible to the audience.
There's barely time for the realization to bolt through her mind - the tail itself is a weapon, a conduit of energy, and almost definitely not just a convincing prop.
Twisting out from under Lyraelle into a roll that works to loosen the tail wrapped around her neck in the same movement, Kasumi finally scrambles to a low crouch off to her opponent's side. Queen Darkheart would see it then - she's likely seen it before in her life, that knowing look, that glare of one who is no longer convinced of the outward deception.
Jaw set, Kasumi surges back onto the offense in an instant, sparing no time to even try and recover from her ordeal. Feeling cornered against a threat she hadn't fully appreciated, she reacts on instinct, surging into range to reach for Lyraelle's right arm with her hands, seeking to wrest it up and leave her side exposed to a full speed, crushing elbow strike to her side as Kasumi slides past. If not prevented, the young woman in drenched blue and white backflips into the air, diving right back down to deliver a second, plunging elbow strike to Lyraelle's upper back in hopes of staggering her forward off balance.
Another power slide would end with the shinobi digging in, winding up, and slamming back for one final elbow strike to the demoness's sternum with the single hardest strike she could possibly deliver. The chain of attacks was one of the strongest weapons in the ninja's arsenal - it could be too dangerous to use against weaker opponents, for certain.
But that isn't what she's dealing with here, is it?
COMBATSYS: Kasumi successfully hits Lyraelle with Oka Ranman EX.
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Kasumi 0/-------/<<<<<<<|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2 Lyraelle
Whilst she's using Kasumi as her throne, Lyraelle makes a point of playing up the humiliation element of the position, casually folding one leg across the other and her arms beneath her chest, smiling and making herself comfortable. It's all enough to draw the audience's attention away from the dastardly deeds of the demoness' tail; any effect on the match's ratings would be serendipitous collateral.
The Dark Queen falls back on her backside with a quick 'oof!' as Kasumi slips her pin, but a quick push of her palms against the deck puts her back on her feet, tail unwinding with a snap. She dusts her hips off, sending flecks o water away, before turning toward the crouching, glowering ninja. Standing at her full height, she smirks, as if inviting the violence to come.
When Kasumi closes in, the Dark Queen tenses, her right arm attempting to resist enough to maintain control as the kunoichi slams her elbow into Lyraelle's side. It's more than the demoness was ready for, sending her tottering back on her high heels and exposing her to the follow-up elbow to the back, imbalancing her further. By the time that the third strike comes, connecting with Lyraelle's chest is almost too easy, and the blow sends her skidding back across the deck and into a rail, causing her to wince as she catches herself.
Letting out a rather un-ladylike growl of frustration, Lyraelle curls her fingers around the railing and squeezes, causing the material to groan and threaten to buckle in protest. Then, abruptly, she transitions seething with frustration to setting her face with cool determination, focusing her eyes on Kasumi
"Right. Let's dispense with the formalities, shall we?"
Formalities apparently dispensed with, the Demon Queen dashes across the deck with great speed and deftness (particularly in those shoes), leaping at the last moment with a surge of her wings propelling her left knee up toward the kunoichi's chin.
The move would be instantly followed through with a mid-air spin, the infernal tail snapping around to try and catch Kasumi around the neck once more and coil around her throat like a bullwhip. If the maneuver succeeds, on landing, Lyraelle will try and catch Kasumi by the ponytail and pull her up, still entangled by the tail, and use her other hand to apply a hammerlock to pin one of Kasumi's arms behind her back as well.
COMBATSYS: Lyraelle successfully hits Kasumi with Royal Prerogative - Covetous Clutch.
[ \\\\\ < > ///////// ]
Kasumi 0/-------/-<<<<<<|>>>>>--\-------\0 Lyraelle
Kasumi's response to the invitation is short and to the point. There isn't venom to her voice, no underlying hostility begging to be given a release. But nor is there any playfulness, her thoughts of the bout shifting dramatically after the last brush with Lyraelle's dangerous combinations.
Her cheeks are still flushed, clearly not amused at having been perched on like a seat, perhaps members of the time a bee-like ninja girl did something similar to her in the past coming fresh to her mind. But a matching red band also circled her bare neck, proof of the demoness's threat, stinging sensation lingering where energy had been so rudely stolen.
She was feeling its effects now. She can't be as fast as she normally is, she can't move as lightning when on fumes, gasping for air through a trachea still dealing with lingering trauma. When she had attacked Lyraelle last, it was to pour her strength into a fight ending combination, to be done with this. Yet, in spite having connected cleanly, Lady Darkheart still stood. Injured, no doubt, but she was a degree too resilient to be taken down just like that.
Kasumi is quiet after her single word answer, focus locked on the winged woman. She can't let herself feel despair that her opponent still walks. Adrenaline rushes through her veins threatening to cloud her judgment, fight or flight instincts vying for dominance. If this were a hunt, she would be trying to make a hasty retreat, too injured to risk further exchanges with the creature. But no- No, she needed to remember where she was - that this was a sporting match, a public display of skill, not a hunt, not a battle hidden in the shadows.
She had only just asserted that control over her instincts, determined to fight, to keep testing her own skill against the supernatural opponent she faces, when Lyraelle makes her move.
Again, Kasumi attempts to anticipate the vector of the incoming attack, to slip around it in time to counter attack. But again, the nimble Demon Royal proves a split second too fast, her knee clipping the ninja on the chin, sending Kasumi reeling, her face snapping up as her legs lose their strength. When the tail whipping snaps around with an audible crack, it catches the Shinobi in Blue as she drops to her knees without any sign of fight left in her, mouth opening with a silent protest as her breath is stolen from her once again.
When her hair is grabbed and used to haul her up to uncertain footing and her arm wrenched behind her back, however, Lady Darkheart would feel the resistance, the ongoing struggle, the refusal to quit now even after suffering another blend of dazing and suffocating attacks. Kasumi stands on her toes trying to relieve the pressure on her arm. Thoughts flash through her mind. Maybe if she reached over with her free arm to tap, to submit to the other fighter's winning grip, Lyraelle would release her and stop the pain. But if she had the strength in her to surrender, she had the strength still to fight!
Without having had a chance to take in air, Kasumi drops her heels, enduring the agony that forces into her pinned arm, then kicks off the ground into a flip that flows with the pressure on her shoulder, undoing the hammerlock while also giving her a chance to swing her legs up into an attempted shin strike against the side of Lyraelle's head that would transition into a scissor lock with both legs crossed tightly behind her opponent's skull if not stopped.
A twist of the kunochi's body would leverage the last of her waning strength as Kasumi would try to pry her opponent to the deck hard enough to knock her senseless. She had yet to do anything directly about that infernal tail around her neck, hoping desperately that if she struck the horned woman hard enough she'd release her hold on her own!
COMBATSYS: Kasumi successfully hits Lyraelle with Sakura Madoi Hoshin.
- Power hit! -
[ \\\\\\\ < > / ]
Kasumi 0/-------/-----==|>>>>>>>\>>>>---\1 Lyraelle
The Demon Queen's grip on Kasumi is tight and brutal, a stark contrast to some of the elegance on display earlier in the match. Before the ninja slips from it, a look of renewed vigor passes over Lyraelle's face, and her chest rises as a restorative inhalation of air masks the true source of her restored vitality.
When the copper-haired kunoichi breaks free, Lyraelle's tail slithers from her neck in self-defense, and the demoness' wings beat against the breeze to try and lift her up and away from the oncoming attack. Kasumi manages to latch her legs onto Lyraelle before her Dark Majesty can create the needed distance, however, and Lyraelle is sent crashing to the deck, bouncing and rolling along it. The pale demoness shudders and gasps, wings folding, a tremble running through her frame. Then, as her eyes fall shut and she's about to collapse forward, the Demon Queen suddenly stiffens, her wings flap open, and she opens her eyes again; they now hold the same baleful glow as before, though no fire is forthcoming. She opens her mouth, and the voice with which she sounds her jealous rage seems not to be her own.
"Give me what's mine!"
On dark wings she flies forth, aiming to collide with Kasumi and capture her in her arms, carrying her up into the air. Should she manage to do so, she'll stall out dozens of feet above the ship's pool deck, then spin around, using the momentum of doing so to throw the ninja back toward the deck before raising an open palm overhead. From the right angle, the green fireball that would then begin to grow would seem to cover the sun, replacing the orange orb in the sky though its span is in truth only several feet. And then, the Queen, in her hubris, would hurl this green sun down to the ship, intending to envelop the ninja in hellfire as punishment for challenging her rule.
It's perhaps too much for Lyraelle; before the final result of the assault can be accounted, her eyes will flutter shut again, whatever adrenalin or dark power or rage overtook her fading and leaving her to fall like a downed bird toward the pool below.
COMBATSYS: Lyraelle can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Lyraelle successfully hits Kasumi with #Royal Decree - Banishment#.
The wounded kunoichi lands out of her leg-scissor take down in a half crouch, a gasp of breath forced from her lungs as her legs tremble and she stumbles forward. Catching herself by slapping her left hand against the damp, scorched deck surface, she looks about to collapse forward all together, head bowed briefly as she tries to assess her own condition following two dangerous brushes with the Demon Royal's infernal tail.
Panting for breath, body shaking, the aggravated, throbbing aches of her injuries mounting up, and ears ringing, Kasumi seems oblivious to the defiant flight of her opponent. It's the reflection in the pooling water on the deck that alerts her to something incoming, the unearthly glow in Lyraelle's eyes that warns of impending disaster.
Sucking in one last breath, the Shinobi in Blue lifts her face to the sky to observe the delivery of the proclamation. She thinks there's something off about the voice but the young woman is too rattled to dwell on it or, for that matter, to be entirely sure that she was hearing it correctly. Gritting her teeth, refusing to stay put, Kasumi rises to standing, though she's hunched forward, her left arm pressed across her stomach, no longer possessing the capacity to conceal the pain she was feeling. She wobbles a little before steadying herself, finally finding her own voice again.
"Come and get it!"
Words she might rue given a chance to consider it, but Lady Darkheart is on her away either way. Once again uncertain as to what form her attack will take - a powerful strike or a deceptive grapple - Kasumi opts instead to try and escape the flight path of the incoming raging missile. Turning to the left, her legs tense then kick off the deck, trying to move perpendicularly to Lyraelle's incoming trajectory.
It isn't enough, and in spite her best efforts, the ninja is caught up in the demoness's arms. She puts up a struggle, trying to get elbows into position to deliver stunning strikes, but the attempts are less than effective in light of her present condition. Twisting one last time, she's about to swing an elbow back toward her captor's cheekbone when she suddenly finds herself in an accelerated free fall back to the deck. In better health, perhaps she could have done something to mitigate the plunge from the sky beyond the futile flailing she ends up doing.
At the end of her fall, Kasumi's back bounces off the damaged surface, her spine arching slightly as she flies back up a few feet before coming back down to a wet thud, arms sprawled out at her sides, eyes gazing blearily up at the hellish green sun that seems to have risen in the sky above. Blinking, the gist of the threat sinks in a moment later, reflected easily in the widened eyes of the shinobi.
Scrambling, she begins to move right around when the hellfire bomb explodes against the deck. Before the green flames block out the cameras and smoke rising from smoldering plastic obscures the view from the audience, the young woman was seen rolling on her side toward the adjacent pool.
Lyraelle makes good on her earlier threats of destruction. The explosive impact is catastrophic (relatively speaking), breaking through the pool deck into one or two decks below, the flames demanding a prompt reaction from the crew to keep from spreading and a cringe from the insurance auditor monitoring remotely.
A good thirty seconds pass before Kasumi finally appears at the opposite end of the pool, head breaking through the surface, her loose hair spread against her shoulders and over her face, her pony-tail ribbon no where to be seen. A trembling arm reaches up over the edge of the deck as she tries to pull herself up and out with the last of her strength. The back of her combat dress is scorched black, marring out the golden glyph that bore her name, and burn marks can be seen on the visible parts of her arms.
In the end, there simply isn't enough to keep going, Kasumi's cheek coming to rest on the deck, her eyes closing, the rest of her body still half submerged in the soot-filled water.
COMBATSYS: Kasumi takes no action.
COMBATSYS: Kasumi can no longer fight.
Meanwhile, following another deck-splattering splash into the other pool, the Demon Queen would likely be similarly missing-in-action, but the splaying of her wings across the water provide enough buoyancy to keep her floating on the water's surface, limbs akimbo, alarmingly face-down. She looks a little too relaxed for the fight officials to allow the match to continue on, and when the announcement of draw by double knockout comes, three familiar faces appear, one at a time, from the gaping hole in the liner's deck, each looking around shiftily before clambering out and surrounding the pool that their Queen floats in.
"Lady Darkheart! Are you okay?" the green imp calls out, voice cracking as it wrings its hands in anxiety.
"What'll we do, G?" the pink demon asks, scratching its head as it looks down at the Dark Lady, still floating limply in the pool. The yellow ram-horned demon wanders off.
"I don't /know/, Red," the green minion says, tugging at its scalp. "Do you know Cee Pee Arr?"
"I don't think she's dyin'. I think she's just sleepin'," Red replies.
"She can't sleep face-down in water, Red! She isn't a fish!" the green demonoid says, grabbing his pink compatriot's cheeks.
"Look, she's okay. See? Her tail is movin'," the red one says, pointing toward the purple tail as it starts to swish languorously across the water.
"Quick, grab her tail!" the green one commands, turning and jabbing a finger at said tail as it sways nearer.
The red demon looks dubiously at the tail for a moment before shrugging, then reaches out a stubby arm, bending over the edge of the pool.
Sensing prey, the Demon Queen's tail lashes out, wrapping around the minion's arm and causing Red to cry out in pain, steadily growing pinker as the serpentine appendage coils like a constrictor around the hapless henchman's extended limb.
Lifting her head off the water, Lyraelle expels a spray of air and water from her mouth before saying in a surprisingly chipper tone, "Don't even think about it." Turning, she pushes up to the edge of the pool with her hands and climbs out. Her tail unwinds from around the pink imp's arm as she rises up to her full height, looking reinvigorated while the pink demon collapses on his side. The stocky yellow minion, seeing that his mistress has escaped the pool, drops the large pool net that he's procured and takes a knee deferentially.
"M-Mistress, they've called the match a draw. Which means that the belt won't, euh... that is to say, you haven't..." the green imp stumbles over his words as well as his feet as he retreats from the Demon Queen while she starts to walk calmly forward.
"Temporary setback," Lyraelle says brightly, slowing her gait to a halt as she turns her head toward Kasumi. Behind the sweet camera-ready smile the soaked succubus wears, a deep jealousy is barely perceptible. She takes in a slow breath through her nostrils, then breathes it out with a shudder. Looking back to her minions, she commands:
"One of you, fetch a camera! One of you, fetch me a drink! And one of you... fetch me a hairdryer."
Log created on 20:22:39 03/15/2020 by Kasumi, and last modified on 01:15:18 03/19/2020.